El Presidente de China was pretty good at getting companies to give stuff to the blog for reviewing, etc. One thing that arrived from Manhattan Portage was a large orange NY Messenger Bag. I got it after Joel because I bitched that I wasn't getting any free stuff. I guess I'm a squeeky wheel.
Anyway, part of taking meant that I was supposed to reivew it. A little more than a year has passed since I've started using it, so it's gotten some use. I'm not a messenger, but few messenger bag users are, so I don't think that matters. Further, isn't everyone using a reload, chrome or bailey works bag anyway? That aside, they had no desire to give our blog anything to review, so they suck. But, I've riden with this bag almost everyday for the last year to and from work and the other places I go.
When I inherited this bag from Joel, it was more or less new and still stiff. It's made out of cordura and has vinyl lining. The vinyl lining is supposedly to be waterproof. In my experience, nothing on the inside has ever gotten wet. I remember when particularly nasty & wet stretch in St. John's, NL while on vacation soon after I first got it and I wished that I could climb into the bag while I was riding to stay as dry as my stuff. Also, that big vinyl-lined chamber is quite big. It'll fit pretty much whatever you want and anything more probably shouldn't be on your back. The bag once had a bunch of leeks in it at the Billings Forge Farmers Market and was featured in a video on the Courant's website.
It's got some pockets that I keep some stuff in, but I've never really thought pockets are that much of a make or break issue. As long as they don't develop holes, they're good. These haven't developed holes.
The closure system consists of two big velco strips and and two nylon straps with plastic buckles. If it's not raining, they buckles aren't even really needed, although they'll flail around and hit your butt.
My big complaint has always been the strap and stability. The shoulder strap isn't super comfortable and there's no stablization mechanism. So, it used to swing forward sometimes, especially if I'd get out of the sadle. However, after about six months of use, it's started to break itself in. The bag is shaped like my back now and I've kind of worn in the strap.
In breaking it in, it's really grown on me. For the first three or four months, I was nonplussed. But, it's my big orange purse and I like it.
In closing, it's the cheapest well-made big bag I know of, so I recommend. Hell, I might even spend money on one. I'll never be a backpack man again.